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The rainbow birthday explosion cake maker says she was inspired by piñatas

Brooke DiPalma
Associate Producer

From the fashion industry to sweets, social media played a vital role in Amirah Kassem’s entrepreneurial success.

After leaving her family in Juárez, Mexico in 2011 to come to New York City and pursue a career in fashion, her baking side hustle out of her Brooklyn apartment began to explode on Instagram (FB). Before she knew it, her cakes were a social media sensation, taking orders for Harry Winston, Versace, Valentino and Chanel, but it was her hometown that inspired her to create the viral explosion cake.

“Growing up in Mexico, piñatas were a huge part of celebrating your birthday and just cutting something and having candy come out,” Kassem tells Yahoo Finance’s On The Move, “So there you have it, a piñata explosion.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 13: Cake Decorating Master Class at Institute of Culinary Education on October 13, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images for NYCWFF)

And despite the fact that her vibrant, sparkly cake is helping to tread a path of her own success, she’s happy to share her trade secrets.

“My book ‘The Power of Sprinkles’ walks you through exactly how to do it. And it's not one of those cookbooks where you have to read it 800 times to understand the next step. I actually broke it down,” Kassem continues, “every page shows you what, visually, it looks like as the next step. So it's kind of like a flip book.”

But it doesn’t stop there, since Flour Shop currently resides at one location in Soho New York, with online orders that must be picked up in-store, Kassem figured out a way for everyone to have the opportunity fo taste her colorful cake through a relationship with retailer Williams-Sonoma.

“I created the kit actually so that you didn't have to go and purchase everything individually. And this kit has everything, the inside sprinkles, the outside sprinkles, the food coloring that I use. It's a very specific gel color,” Kassem shares, “And it has the cake mix that we use and the frosting. So literally all you need is milk and butter.”

On top of all that, Kassem launched a sold out collection with Away Luggage, a home decor line with Pottery Barn and wrote two books, including a children’s book “The Magical Land of Birthdays. There’s even more in the pipeline, next spring she is tripling her collection with Williams-Sonoma and unveiling a third book.

And while trends and personal preferences may change, Kassem is confident that her explosion cakes will continue to prosper.

“People have been breaking piñatas in Mexico since way before I was born. And to me, it's not something that's a trend. It's something, maybe it's new and it's fresh to Instagram or people who haven't had it in different cities,” Kassem continues, “But I do think that every single day, someone is born. And it's someone's birthday all year round. And you always want to celebrate that moment.”

Brooke DiPalma is a producer for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma.

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